The 2019/20 National Hunt season ramps up another gear this weekend with Cheltenham hosting their three-day November Meeting, which sees a raft of top-class action on offer – including Saturday’s feature BetVictor Gold Cup.
We have an ante-post preview for the race – which features two selections priced at 9/1 and 25/1 respectively – currently live onsite, plus runner-by-runner previews and selections for all of the races at Cheltenham will be available on our free horse racing tips page.
It has not just been the equine talent that has come to the surface already this season, however, with a raft of exciting new riders finding themselves amongst the winners.
Here, our man Joe Eccles has identified five up-and-coming Conditional Jockeys in both Britain and Ireland that look ones to follow throughout the remainder of the campaign.
One rider that has enjoyed a fine time of things recently is Ben Jones, who gained a second successive big Saturday handicap hurdle winner when Misty Bloom scored at Wincanton over the weekend.
Primarily based with Philip Hobbs – no doubt picking up a thing or two from stable number one Richard Johnson – Jones rode a treble at Hereford just last month and has already lost his seven-pound claim.
Fergal O’Brien has enjoyed a dream start to the season, and his stable conditional Connor Brace has built on the promise he showed last term to already notch up twenty winners this campaign – the most recent of those coming at Sandown yesterday.
Connor caught the attention of many punters after giving the Nicky Henderson-trained Verdana Blue a fine ride to land the Scottish Champion Hurdle in April, and although his claim is now down to three pounds, expect him to be given plenty more opportunities throughout the remainder of this season.
Fresh from riding a double at Naas on Saturday, Sean O’Keeffe currently looks excellent value for his seven-pound allowance.
Sean has ridden winners for Gordon Elliott and Jessica Harrington already in his career, and his current association with Paul Nolan should continue to provide him with excellent riding opportunities in the next few months.
Another Irish-based conditional whose stock is firmly on the rise is Hugh Morgan, who has ridden fourteen winners in his career to date.
Based with Henry De Bromhead, Hugh has also ridden winners for Joseph O’Brien this season – an association with two of the biggest National Hunt trainers in Ireland should result in us hearing plenty more about him in the near future.
Given a mention by Richard Hoiles on ITV4 over the weekend, Alexander Thorne has started the season brightly – gaining three wins from his ten rides.
Having started out with Lucinda Russell, the twenty-four-year-old has ridden winners for Dr Richard Newland and Paul Nicholls but is now based with Alan King, and the recent retirement of Wayne Hutchinson should see him given plenty of opportunities as the season progresses.